Thursday, 25 December 2014

Nyaung Shwe to Kalaw

Today started with a nice 8km warmup along the lake. We still don't have the tandem but have nice Merida loaner bikes and I lucked out putting a spare pedal set in my luggage. We cruised along to the first stop of a spy snack maker.  Traffic was light but consistent, road was narrow worth no lanes, but it's scooters, "Chinese Buffaloes" which are engines on two wheels that pull a cart or do any sort of work imaginable, basic Chinese trucks with an engine on the front, and not really any cars or trucks. 

This is soy product being made into crispy snacks you have on the table before a meal, like the equivalent of bread with oil and vinegar or tortillas and salsa. 

Dry beans. Make paste. 

Dry paste into squares. 

Dry more. 

Fry. Note the one in front of the fry pan for spirits. 

Candy making too. From sugar cane. 


This is a rich village with concrete buildings. Already I'm impressed. Living is basic, but people are organized, resourceful, happy and open, friendly. I tried not to picture much in advance, but everything is above expectation. 

After our tea break, we rode 19km along the lake then up and 11km hill. Most people didn't know it, but the Myanmar time trial championships were about to start. After the days on plane and in office, a little warm up yesterday, and individual bikes, I just felt like I had to roll. The other competitors were the aforementioned scooters, bikes, Chinese  Buffaloes and trucks that make up traffic here. And today they were in for a thrashing. Flat but rolling road, nice temperature, beauty pagodas on the horizon, and a couple months of Trev's pushing big gear spin classes. I couldn't tire myself out no matter how many matches I burned. Days like that feel glorious. I had to take a bit of a stop at what I guessed was the corner for the climb to wit for the sag wagon. 

The climb was up a beautiful farming valley. I overtook a couple trucks loaded with people or workers. They go ballistic with enthusiasm. I did it mostly to stay clear of exhaust, and cause those trucks are slow. The road was under construction. Teams of people crush rocks, lay them, cover with gravel, then tar. It's hot. Flip flops are the construction footwear of choice. Workers are young. 

Very nice farm and ranch land. 

Waited for truck, Cindy and guide at top. They are realizing already that their job is to keep Cindy fed, happy and off the bike of it's too hard (her power to weight ratio is going wrong way with baby) and that I don't need much babysitting. They were dumbfounded I was already having tea at the top. 

Descent was through more beautiful farm lands. 

Once we got to a main busy highway I jumped in car and we drove last 10k to Kalaw. Nice hotel. Had big lunch (there's too much food here). 

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